Giving Credit Where Credit is Due...

Mark Davis - 05.27.2009

At this year’s Run Walk Ride Conference in Dallas, I had the chance to reconnect with customers I have worked with directly over the past eight years.  Many of those customers were ranked as having some of the top fundraising events in the nation last year according to the 2008 Run Walk Ride 30, a yearly report which tracks and ranks the top fundraising events in the U.S. This post is to congratulate those organizations on their accomplishments.  

One organization we admire is the Arthritis Foundation. For a little history, the San Diego Jingle Bell Run in 2000 was actually Blackbaud’s first online event (yes, EventId = 1). This past year’s Jingle Bell Run in San Diego was EventId = 279161, still using Friends Asking Friends® to manage their event. 2008 was a particularly impressive year for Arthritis. They have two nationally-based events that were surveyed for the Run Walk Ride 30, the Arthritis Walk and the Jingle Bell Run/Walk (they also have the Joints in Motion campaign). By percentage growth, the Arthritis Walk was the second highest on the list - which is even more impressive considering they actually reduced the number of event sites by 75 (or 23%). In comparison, the event with the highest percent growth, National Philanthropic Trust’s Breast Cancer 3-Day, grew by an amazing 27% that was helped by an increase of 17% in overall number of event locations.


The Run Walk Ride 30 list is filled with national events hosted in multiple locations. But a few singular events made the list proving their considerable fundraising effectiveness while having fewer participants. With only 1,200 participants, the Rodman Ride for Kids raised an amazing $6.3M or $5,250 per participant. In comparison, the largest fundraising event, Relay for Life, raised about $145 per participant. Incredibly, the Ride wasn’t even the highest by this metric of those surveyed; the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge can boast an average of over $8,000 per participant.


A last interesting untold story was the success experienced by Autism Speaks, who in 2007 completed its merger with Cure Autism Now, a family-founded, autism advocacy group based in Los Angeles. The combined organization underwent a merger of staff, technology and events in 2008, while continuing to host the Walk Now for Autism. As everyone who has gone through mergers out there knows (I say with a smile), they are never a trivial exercise. Following the acquisition, the organization emerged with a single platform and a rejuvenated national event fundraising program that expanded revenue by 13.5% in 2008.


I left out a number of other organizations, who should feel proud of their accomplishments on the Run Walk Ride 30. In summary, Blackbaud now supports 11 of Top 30 RunWalkRide events and many chapters from the other events on the list.


If you would like to add praise for any of these organizations or any others, let us know! Just post your comments here.

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